Young couple Ali (Kate Moran) and Matthias (Niels Schneider) and their transvestite maid Udo (Nicolas Maury) anxiously wait for their guests to arrive so they can begin their midnight orgy. The guest – The Slut (Julie Bremond), The Star (Fabienne Babe), The Stud (Eric Cantona) and The Teen (Alain-Fabien Delon) – arrive one-by-one and they all have their own sexual preferences and quirks. As the night progresses the guests share much more than just their bodies with one another.
You and the Night is the feature film debut by writer/director Yann Gonzalez and it’s not going to be for everyone. From the premise you would expect a film that’s full of gratuitous sex and little plot but You and the Night is nothing like that save for a few scenes thrown in for shock tactics. Actually the film is dreamy exploration of the lives of a disparate group of people brought together by their insatiable need for sex.
Once together it looks like the group are going to get the party started straight away but soon they start to split off or group together which then leads to flashbacks, story-telling and sharing secrets. The film’s quirkiness and off-beat pace is quintessentially French and there isn’t really a strong narrative holding it all together. Gonzalez is inventive for sure with both his direction and writing but his style is not going to suit all tastes.
At times You and the Night is very meandering. The characters never come to life past their stereotyped names e.g. The Stud is miserable despite being incredibly well-endowed and the most memorable thing he does is get out his (prosthetic) penis for the other guests to fondle. One of the problems we had with the movie is the lack of depth in all areas. On the surface the film is dreamlike but when you dig into it you expect more substance than you get.
Much has been made about former footballer Eric Cantona’s involvement with the film. He’s perfectly adequate as The Stud and he definitely adds to the shock factor of his large member being revealed. Niels Schneider emerges as the star of the movie combining surprising gravitas with his natural charisma and wide-eyed youth. Beatrice Dalle steals the show with a small role that involves a prison, some very excited guards and Cantona crawling around his pants.
You and the Night left us feeling a bit mixed. On the one hand we admired the fact it wasn’t what we were expecting but on the other hand it let us cold once the credits rolled. We couldn’t help but feel that the film considered itself much more important than it is and actually it didn’t offer anything that particularly fresh or original. You and the Night is an interesting film for sure but we doubt it’ll be considered as a classic of its genre.